Remember the storm I so rhapsodized last week? Well, it lost its charm.
After many a liqueur-laden snowshake, the reality hit. My kids’ more than two-week vacation was extended. The Albuquerque Public School system couldn’t handle the white stuff and cancelled three — yes, three — extra days of classes. Sure, the snowfall was an unprecedented event, but, hey, I NEED TO THINK!
I have wonderful children. They are not the problem.
It’s all in me.
When my kids are home (or my hubby, for that matter), even if they’re sitting quietly reading, my ears are cocked to listen for potential crises. Maybe it’s a mom thing. I don’t know.
What I do know is that it’s very difficult to pal around with the Muse when kids ask for snacks, the house is adrift in strewn toys, and the theme song from Arthur wafts through the air yet again. Yeah, I can close the office door, but that only lasts for so long. My kids are still in the conversation-through-the-bathroom-door stage.
Paul Guyot and others in our community have written marvelous pieces on self-discipline. Some people I know get up at 4 am to work. I’ve done it myself. But, when my kids are home, I need to be coherent. I need enough of my iffy sleep to respond to fights, broken dishes, and the ups and downs of home life.
I need to be able to drive to the store without hallucinating.
Frankly, if I got up consistently at 4 am, I’d need to go to bed at 8. Ladies and gentlemen — that’s simply not going to happen. Writer though I be, my family comes first. I can’t be a recluse, though sometimes I dream of doing just that.
Plus, I tried the 4 am technique to slam out THE SOCORRO BLAST. You know what happened? That first draft had the creativity of a chunk of stucco. That’s why I had to rewrite the whole damn thing.
So, it’s not productivity . . . it’s the product. What I need is mental privacy, an empty house, a time when I’m not responsible for anyone or anything but my imagination.
Don’t get me wrong. I am writing every day. I am showing up at the computer and slogging through pages of text. But, this forcing isn’t nurturing the story I need to tell.
How can I find a way to create a cocoon of mental quiet to allow myself the clarity and freedom to think?
Organization isn’t the issue here. It’s something more elusive.
I need a shroud of impenetrability, of undisturbed psychic space, to let the story unfold in my mind. This isn’t a question of being precious about my craft; it’s about finding a way to nourish creativity.
I know this is only a temporary set-back . . . sort of. The kids should be in school soon. But, I’ve been writing through motherhood long enough to know: Life intrudes. My spouse works full time out of the house. I’m the go-to person for all family events.
I AM NOT complaining.
I AM NOT looking for suggestions on scheduling.
What I want to know is:
How do you create, nurture and maintain the mental space for your imagination to thrive — especially if you’re stretched between demanding realities?
Prepare to be amused by book biz definitions:
New blog: Join me in congratulating Jeff Cohen and Deni Dietz — two Murderati alums — who have put together a new blog that opens its virtual doors today. Stop by http://www.heydeadguy.typepad.com and say, "Hi."